The 4 selling tips small business owners must use to avoid failure

Which steps must you take or face business failure? This post includes the four selling tips small business owners need to follow so they can rock their success. Skip these at the risk of your own peril.

Starting and running a business is challenging! Business owners wear so many hats and have so much to do every day. While it’s essential for entrepreneurs to do many things well, I’ll give you the bullet points for the sales essentials you need to use to ensure success.

(Interested in more sales tips for small business owners? Download this free ebook, “From Cold to Sold” and get 17 sales secrets.)

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The selling tips small business owners are smartest to use are efficient and useful.

Have a selling plan

The importance of having a plan cannot be understated. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Without a plan, all the other selling tips for small business owners are wasted. Author Katherin Peterson famously said, “a dream wihout a plan is just a wish”.

SMB owners can keep the sales plan simple, for a start. Have one place where all leads and customer information is kept. This can be a CRM or an Excel spreadsheet. Create sales goals, even if you’re guestimating. 

Also, have an idea of how many opportunities you’ll need to close to reach this goal. Start with a specific target number of phone calls or in-person appointments. As you close sales, track how many prospects you contact for each sale. It’s also helpful for seeing how much follow up is required to close the sale. This is highly valuable data you can use to continue refining your selling plan. 

Know your unique selling propostion

Most likely, you’re famliar with this term. But unique selling proposition (USP) is still too YOU-centric. Like it or not, humans are ME-centric, which means the best way to make your product appeal to your prospect is to make the USP about THEM. This comes down to what does your product or service do for your client? A “value proposition” is the customer-centric version of the USP. 

Don’t even pick up the phone until you have a clear understanding of what your service or product does FOR your customer. What pain does is alleviate? Which problem does it solve? How does it remove fear? Understanding the value your offering delivers to prospects is essential to grabbing and keeping attention. No one has any interest in hearing descriptions of a product when they see nothing in it for them.

Sales techniques that focus on the prospect

Listen to customer’s needs

Asking questions and listening is powerful for building rapport and for discovering your customer’s needs. More about how much about the prospect your selling process must be. And guess what? People love talking about themselves, so getting your customers talking is easier than you might think.

Listening to customer needs also serves to further qualify what’s important to them and how they want to communicate. Which provides invaluable insight for tailoring your offer specifically to what your potential client wants. Thus increasing your likelihood of closing this sale.

Ask for the sale

Sound ridiculous? You’d be surprised how often this doesn’t happen. A common challenge facing small business owners is fear of rejection. Actually, this is a common problem for even the most seasoned salespeople.  Toss that fear of rejection out the door. If you’ve done a good job of qualifying your prospect, then you know if they have a problem you can solve. Simply ask if they want you to help solve it for them.

These are the top 4 selling tips small business owners need to use to ensure success. The list of others sales and customer retention techniques and  is endless, but these are the most important ones, in my opinion.

From Cold to Sold! 17 Selling tips small business owners can use to explode their sales
From Cold to Sold! 17 Selling tips small business owners can use to explode their sales

Why a Lack of Good Corporate Social Responsibility Is Killing Your Business

Good Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer a nice-to-have. In fact, companies who want to grow MUST practice good Corporate Social Responsibility, aka, CSR. Those brands who don’t face losing sales.

Driven by millennials who prefer to do business with brands who have ethical and sustainable business standards, the recipe for sales and marketing success changed dramatically. So now, all generations have an increased expectation that companies who want to earn their business must practice sustainability. Is your brand adapting, or dying?

Millennials (and other generations too) are looking for four major qualities in socially responsible companies. Download the checklist here for free.

According to findings from the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “More than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average). Two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).” Because of these factors, companies not yet engaging in good corporate social responsibility are losing sales.

Practicing Good Corporate Social Responsibility Is Great for Business

In 2015, Nielson published its annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report. It indicated that, globally, 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. 73% of surveyed millennials indicating a similar preference. Additionally, 81% of millennials evexpect their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship.”

As John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods puts it:

“The whole corporate social responsibility ideal is trying to graft something onto the old profit maximization model. Now more than ever, we need is a transformation [in] the way we think about business, what it’s based on. People want businesses to do good in the world. It’s that simple…. We now need a deeper, fundamental reform in the essence of business.”

So, traditional advertising won’t work with Millennials. Conveying CSR efforts to Millennials requires authenticity, and a unique approach. Since Millennials grew up with the Internet, they want their voices heard. And they expect a two-way, open dialogue with companies and their brands.

Millennials and many of the customers from other generations want to buy from companies who give back.  As a result, brands who want to attract more customers and keep existing ones need to have a good corporate social responsibility program.

Good Corporate Social Responsibility - Free Checklist Download
Good Corporate Social Responsibility – Free Checklist Download

 

Entrepreneur Success Starts with Step 1 – Respect

Part 1 of 5 in the RAISE Sales System blog post series for entrepreneur success.

Are you an entrepreneur who struggles with sales? If so, you’re not alone. Entrepreneur success requires strong sales skills and this struggle is a common problem that many business owners have. Entrepreneurs wear a lot of different hats and for most, selling isn’t their strongest skillset.

Respect the prospect - entrepreneur success
Entrepreneur success requires RESEPCT, step 1 in the RAISE sales system

One of the secrets to entrepreneur success is knowing how to ask for and close the sale. In this 5 part blog series, I’m going to share my signature sales system, RAISE.  I created this 5-step strategy RAISE from my 25+ years of experience across multiple industries and teach it in workshops and when doing sales coaching with clients. This is the sales process entrepreneurs and sales professionals use for dramatically increasing sales.

Download free ebook “17 Sales Hacks to Close More Sales”

RAISE is the word that is spelled out by the first letter of each of the steps in the system. This post is about the first step and each post in this series will reveal subsequent steps in the RAISE system.

The R in RAISE is for respect and I love starting with respect because this is where a relationship building begins. This is where developing the know, like and trust factors starts, so you can advance to asking for the sale.

Entrepreneur success secret #1 is Respect

You can’t close the sale if you’re no longer in the conversation. Respecting the prospect will keep you in the conversation longer than asking for the sale before they are ready to buy.

First of all, respecting where the customer actually is, and not where you wish they were in the buying process is vital to entrepreneurs success. It’s super essential to be aware of where your prospect is where their heads at what they care about where they are in the sales or buying process.

Two Ears and One Mouth for a Reason

One example is at a networking event or a party. You have connected with somebody and they did most of talking, while you do a lot of listening. At the end of the conversation, they say, “You’re a great conversationalist!” And you think to yourself, “I said so very little and you did all the talking!” There’s a reason people say we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason:-)

Why is it that the person who did the listening is a great conversationalist? Because human beings love to feel heard. When we show consideration for people and actively listen to them, they FEEL respected and valued. Plus, we find out what is important to them and that knowledge fuels our own entrepreneur success. All of this goodness also allows us to build the know, like and trust factors.

Success Story Using Respect to Sell

Now I’ll share with you an example of how amazing the Respect step is for entrepreneurs to succeed. In the late 80s, I sold construction equipment in Florida, working for the only companies in the country that had female sales. I was calling on construction sites throughout Southwest Florida and I wasn’t always welcomed. One general contractor was using the old-style, less cost effective and more dangerous scaffolding on a project that was a prime candidate for using a boomlift. He wasn’t interested in hearing about a new technology solution from a woman who he perceived didn’t know anything about construction.

How I Cracked the Tough Prospect

If I was going to have any shot at selling this customer a boomlift, I knew I needed to get creative. I realized I needed to respect where he was, no where I wanted him to be.

Since I knew he felt competent as a general contractor, I asked him about the project. He was happy to talk about it. After listening, I offered to deliver the boomlift the next day at no charge to him. If at the end of the day, he found the equipment effective, he could keep it and pay only for the rental for the rest of the time he used it. If not, I’d pick it up and charge him nothing. No risk for him.

When I called this customer at the end of the day, he told me I could leave the boomlift.  I had the sale without ever asking for it. What is important to know, is that I respected where this customer this prospect was and stayed in the conversation. When building a relationship with a prospect, starting with respecting where they are and what they value is the best first step. R is for Respect and entrepreneur success depends upon it.

Download your free eBook “From Cold to Sold” and get the 17 secrets for converting more leads to customers.

How to accelerate lead nurturing and turn on the flow of referrals

Part 2 of the Secret Weapon: Referral partners can amplify your sales.

You’ve asked, listened and begun nurturing those new contacts. Awesome! Want to learn what will speed the relationship developing process along faster so you can convert contacts into referral partners?

Here’s how to crank up your list of referral partners: Follow up until they “Buy or Die”!

80% of sales require seven follow-ups (and that number keeps climbing)   [Source: Scripted]
44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up  [Source: The Marketing Donut]

So, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to attract more clients, these numbers are eye-opening. This means it’s likely your competition won’t follow up as often as you will if you commit to five times. BOOM! Advantage, you!

Download the free 3 Step Plan to get more referral partners.

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If you’re a job seeker, this underscores the importance of persistence. While no one wants to be a pest, it’s in your best interest to follow up multiple times. Some HR experts say, “Follow up until they buy or die.”
People are just too busy to remember who they talked to and what action they promised. Those who rely on new contacts to do the follow-up are guaranteed disappointing results. Instead, proactive professionals who make a point to reconnect after introductions impress and succeed.

Staying connected is how you’ll nurture and build this relationship, so call or email with a brief message about how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’d like to stay in touch. Mention something specific they talked about. Ask what social media they prefer and connect with them on those channels. LinkedIn is a given for most professionals, but find out if they like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest also. Most people have a couple of go-to channels they like.

People are more likely to respond to social media than an email, so take advantage of that and meet them where they are. Showing social love to your contacts will accelerate you rapidly towards your goal of accumulating referral partners to grow your business. Public admiration and validation is pure gold!

Check out my post “5 ways to get free leads on LinkedIn” and “Promote Your Business with Instagram” for specific tips.
You now have a platform for nurturing that new business relationship and expanding your network. Repost things they post, make comments (positive and insightful) and make sure you do it within the first week, and then every couple of weeks after that.
Network like a pro and watch the job opportunities and sales flow in, right? There’s a little more to it than that, of course. Once you have the strong referral network in place, you need to know how to ask for the referrals.

When you’re ready to build a full pipeline of referral partners, consider a the RAISE online sales course.

Learn more about RAISE online course

Ready to give yourself a RAISE?

I recently presented my R.A.I.S.E. method for relationship building to increase income at the Texas Women in Business meeting at Austin Country Club. Get out your pen and get ready to take some notes. This is a really powerful system that works outrageously well to increase sales revenue, so you can give yourself a R.A.I.S.E.! Discover how to build relationship and financial wealth.

Schedule your FREE sales coaching session!

So if you’re wondering how to increase sales or give yourself a RAISE, watch this 3 minutes video and take me up on the offer for a free coaching session.  Investing even 15 minutes in your success can have a massive impact on your business and your life. YOU are worth it!

Sales Tip of the Week – Active Listening

One of the most powerful ways to increase sales is to listen. Active listening means you ask your prospect questions and focus on hearing their answers. People love to be heard because it makes them feel respected and valued.

Plus, active listening often reveals insights that help you determine how best to help them solve their problems or entertain them. This information helps you illustrate the value your product or service offers, which helps you close the sale.

Active Listening – Sales Tip of the Week

 

Try it out and let me know how it works for you. I coach and train sales teams and entrepreneurs how to increase their income by 20 to 80%. Active listening is one of the most effective methods I coach my clients on developing. For a limited time, I’m offering a FREE 15 minutes Sales Strategy Session! Click the button below to schedule your session now. Spots are limited, so get yours on the calendar while you can!

Schedule a Free Session!

 

Are You Losing Money Because of Your Sales Blindspot?

Your sales blindspot could be costing you money. A lot of money. You could be missing out on sales and not even realize it. But you can’t fix a problem you can’t see.

Are you losing money because of your sales blindspot?
Are you losing money because of your sales blindspot?

Wouldn’t it be great if you buy a little sales blindspot mirror like you can for your car? That way you could see where you’re missing opportunities to make more money and fix them. But sales blindspot quick-fixes aren’t a thing…or are they?

Do you know what your sales blindspot is?

You may detest networking. Or maybe it’s following up with leads that isn’t your favorite thing to do. It could be you don’t know how to ask for the sale. As America’s #1 Master Confidence Strategist, Jan Goss-Gibson told me, “You can’t read the label from inside the bottle.” In other words, everyone has a blindspot, so don’t feel badly.

The Solution – Identify the area of sales where you struggle the most

Get a qualified sales expert to show you what you can’t see because you’re inside the bottle trying to read the label. Click here to schedule a free 15 minutes session with me to discover your sales blindspot. The link takes you right to my TimeTrade scheduling app.

Once you see what you’re not seeing, you can makes some shifts in your selling and reclaim that lost revenue.

Every business owner wants more sales.  What if you could discover a simple tip you could use that would get you more sales right away? Schedule a free session with me and I’ll show you how to increase revenue right away. You may want to take advantage of this offer now, since the free session slots are filling up quickly.

Discovering and removing you sales blindspot leads to a major increase in income. What part of the sales process do you struggle with the most? Leave your answer to this question in the comments. I look forward to seeing your answers.

The 1 social media thing to do today to grow your business

How to get social media focus
Knowing how to get social media focus so you can grow our businesses can be overwhelming.

How to get social media focus – We are faced with endless options for posting on several social platforms.

Easier said than done, right? Raise your hand if you feel overwhelmed by social media sometimes. It’s SUPER common!

There’s so much we CAN do on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn (to name a few social platforms) that entrepreneurs can feel paralyzed, like a deer in the headlights. How do we get social media focus?  Building a network of referral partners is one smart use of social media.

And this can be a really good use of your social media time, depending on your business. Download my free 3-step plan for getting more referrals.

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Just because we CAN do it, doesn’t mean we SHOULD do it. The key is social media focus. I like to use lists to visualize and prioritize my tasks.  Whether you like lists, graphics or some other way to organize your “To Dos”,  I highly recommend you do that so you can get clarity on what social media activity is most important for driving growth for your business. What’s the one thing you can do that will attract more customers today?

I’ll give you some help. You’ve heard it said often that brands need to deliver value with their content. That’s true, no matter what form the content takes. Social media is included. Entertain, inform or do both is the content marketing credo. Since the goal of content is to build the know-like-trust factor, I suggest you run each post you’re considering through that filter.

Does the social post help audiences to know, like and trust you? If so, is the content valuable and/of entertaining.

My suggestion is to put all of your social media focus on post ideas. Look through these filters and then you’ll have a short list of good branding, rapport-building and value-adding content. Once you have the short list, review it to determine which social post is most likely to attract new clients. That’s the one to post.

Declutter your mind and calendar by focusing only on this one post. Use your favorite social media management app (I use Hootsuite) to optimize when you post on each social platform. Remember to answer questions and like and reply to comments to get the most mileage out of your post too.

Download my free 3-step plan for getting more referral

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